By Alesandra Dubin Posted May 31, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS Las Vegas in the summer is well known for what many consider oppressive heat. One way to beat the sun outside—apart from Vegas's pools, of course—is to head underground. Las Vegas-based Big Horn Tours has launched an exclusive new tour deep into the caverns of the Grand Canyon, 200 feet below ground level. For the first time, guests will be able to explore the destination from the inside. The cost is about $199 per person, depending on the size of the group.
The tour begins with an early-morning pickup in one of Big Horn Tours' custom H2 Hummers. From their hotel (or another pickup location), guests will travel through the Mojave Desert on a light off-road experience through the White Hills of Arizona. Big Horn Tours is the only travel company with access to this stretch of land, which gives visitors a chance to snap photos in the Joshua Tree Forest. As the trip progresses down historic Route 66, guests will travel through the authentic Native American village of Peach Springs, home to the Hualapai Nation. Once at the Grand Canyon Caverns, an elevator will take the group 200 feet beneath ground level into one of the largest dry caverns, more than 300 million years old.
Paved, well-lit trails wind guests through the three-quarter-mile path, as guides point out the various rock formations and explain the history. Afterward, guests will stop for a hearty family-style western lunch at the upstairs restaurant.
On the way back to Las Vegas, the Big Horn team makes stops at the famed Route 66 Hackberry General Store so guests can take photos, shop, and explore. Also included in the tour is a stop for photos at the Hoover Dam in the morning or on the way back. Bonus: Every guest is offered a 27-exposure disposable camera as a backup, in case of a camera malfunction. And if time isn't an issue—or for an adventuresome crowd—there's even a room beneath the surface for guests who prefer to spend the night.